County lawmakers pass gas tax measure
A resolution passed at a Thursday special meeting of the Oneida County Board of Legislature has fueled the cap of the county’s gas sales tax at $3 per gallon, saving motorists a total of more than 20 cents per gallon when combined with a state cap in place.
The newly signed state budget amended the state law to provide counties with the option to enact such a cap effective through the end of this year. Some county’s have already enacted a cap, others have yet to take action before the May 2 deadline.
Per Oneida County’s resolution — which was proposed by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. — the county will suspend charging its 4.75% sales tax share over $3 per gallon on all regular, mid and premium unleaded and diesel gasoline.
The county-wide tax cap will go into effect on June 1, 2022, and end on November 30, 2022. However, the state's gas tax cap continues until the end of the year.
With the current average price being $4.26 for regular unleaded gas in the Utica-Rome area according to AAA, that provision would save county drivers approximately six cents per gallon. Combined with the temporary sales tax suspension that was adopted by New York State as part of its 2022-23 budget — which equates to about 16 cents per gallon — drivers in Oneida County stand to save approximately 22 cents per gallon, according to information from the county.
Picente added that at current retail prices, the county can expect to lose about $3 million from gas and diesel sales, but overall sales tax receipts have been strong this year and that will help alleviate the hit.
There’s a bit of history behind the measure.
Last week, county legislators did unanimously approve a resolution to opt in to the cap at the regular board meeting; however, county leaders later felt a little bit more work was needed to perfect it and make sure that the deal not only benefited county residents, but didn’t cause a huge hit to county revenue.
So, the measure was reintroduced Thursday for a new vote.
"Skyrocketing inflation is having a devastating impact on the budgets of working families throughout Oneida County," Picente stated, "According to the Consumer Price Index, increases of gasoline, shelter and food were the biggest drivers of inflation in March, with gasoline accounting for more than half that surge..."
Legislators also weighed in.
“Oneida County residents are feeling the strain of increased costs for essential goods, especially at the gas pump where prices have increased significantly,” said Board Chairman Gerald Fiorini, R-7, Rome. “After the challenges of the last two years, our families deserve all the relief we can provide.”
Legislator Rick Flisnik, R-8, Marcy, added, ”Anytime we can reduce taxes or fees for our citizens, I think it’s a good day. Hopefully this will help alleviate pain at the pump.”
The county’s gas tax cap resolution will now be submitted for approval to the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.
Picente said that after the November expiration of the county’s portion of the cap, it could be re-evaluated and possibly continued to the end of the year.
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